If you’re like me, you want to be knighted for what you spend your time doing. All that effort. All those gray cells ignited in the name of art, or commerce, or just hoping an email will get you laid. You write, you want it to be well received. Totally normal.
The difference between someone who’s going to get somewhere and someone who’s not is how they react to and deal with notes.
I like to give work out at an earlier stage than most folks. As soon as I have a draft that hangs together, I get notes. I don’t polish and polish and make it perfect, and then give it to people. I want to give it to them when they can still make a huge difference in the direction of the story. After draft after draft after draft, I don’t want to hear it doesn’t work.
NObody likes being told their work is not up to par. Everyone, just like me, would rather the person critiquing their work say, “I weep at your genius.” They so rarely do. Certainly not at the “early draft” stage. But that’s why you give your work to people… to hear what’s wrong with it NOW, so you have a change to fix the problems that you don’t see… but that an agent or publisher or actor or buyer will.
THAT is who you want to impress, not your friend.
The criticism can hurt, make you angry, make you sad, make you want to stop writing… but keep all that bile to yourself. When someone is gracious enough to give you notes, please be gracious to them. Keep your suicidal thoughts to yourself. Heck, you may want them to read another draft sometime… if you impale yourself on the butter knife at the cafe, chances are that’s the last read you’re gonna get outta that guy…
So, suck it up, take lots of notes, say “Thank you” a lot, and be very grateful.
Then go fix what you feel is helpful.